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A Guide to Choosing the Best Free Standing Heavy Bag

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The heavy bag is one of the best tools that you can have when you train at home. It is designed to give you a stationary target to strike and work on your different techniques. This is an essential training tool that can help you develop better technique, stamina, and precision.

There are many different types of heavy bags to choose from. The most popular heavy bags used for training are heavy bags that hang from a ceiling. When a heavy bag is hanging, it allows the bag to swing and doesn’t get knocked over if you hit it too hard. If you have the option of installing a regular heavy bag that you hang from a wall mount or heavy bag stand, do that. If you don’t have a place in your home where you can hang a normal heavy bag, a free standing bag may be your only option.

I’ve written an article talking about the different heavy bags that you can read HERE

As the name suggests, free standing heavy bag are lightweight heavy bags that are not attached to anything but a bottom base. The base of the bag is filled with either water or sand to prevent the bag from moving around when you strike it. Since the bags are designed to be light and mobile, free standing bags don’t offer the same resistance as normal heavy bags that are material filled.

When you strike the bag it will bend back and then rebound to its original position. Every free standing bag has a maximum force it can take before it gets knocked over.

These bags are ideal for beginners who want to kick and punch something that offers a little bit of resistance, but not too much. These are great bags for kids or women who don’t hit too hard. If you are a hard-hitting girl or guy, these bags can get knocked over because they cannot take too much impact.

There are many different types of Free standing bags that are better for different uses. This article is going to break down everything you should know about free standing heavy bags to help you make the right choice. Once you have the information, you can choose a bag that is right for you.

Why Choose a Free Standing Heavy Bag

The main reason anyone who choose a free-standing bag is because it is fast and easy to setup. You buy the heavy bag and all you need to do is fill the base with sand or water. Once you fill the base you are good to go. There is no need to shed old clothes and stuff the bag, just fill the base and you are off to the races.

Another reason you would choose a free standing bag is if you don’t have any space to hang a normal heavy bag. Perhaps you live in a small apartment and don’t have a big exercise room or garage that you can clear space for your heavy bag. Because these heavy bags are portable, you can easily slide the bag into a closet or cover it up when you are finished using it. The portability and accessibility are primary reasons why these bags are popular.

While regular heavy bags are filled with material that can compress and harden over time, free standing bags are very soft. This means your knuckles won’t hurt after you strike the bag. This is great for beginners who are not looking to harden their shins or knuckles and want a light workout on a soft bag.

Free standing bags are also great options if you have younger kids at home. While some adults will easily knock these bags over, kids will be able to get good resistance when they strike the bag and can get much more use out of it.

Factors to Consider

When you choose a free standing bag there are a few things you should look at. The choice of bag is going to depend on what exactly you want in a free standing bag. Are you looking for something to do cardio training with? Here are some things you should consider when choosing a free standing heavy bag.

Size and Weight

The biggest complaint people have with free standing bags is that they get knocked over very easily. They are not designed to take a lot of impact when you strike the bag. The size and weight of the free standing bag is going to determine how much punishment they can take.

If you buy a bag that is extremely light, it will probably get knocked over after a few moderate strikes. That is why these bags are better for youths, then adults. There are some heavy bags that can take more punishment than others.

Beware of the inflatable free standing bags that are sold. Inflatable bags are terrible and I do not recommend them. They give you even less resistance than normal free standing bags, which is not much. If you buy an inflatable bag, you’ll end up returning it or throwing it out.

Design and Function

Another factor that you should consider when looking at heavy bags is they overall design of the bag. Some bags are designed to only take punches, while other heavy bags are designed to double as grappling dummies and can be knocked to the ground.

Before purchasing a free standing bag, you need to know what kind of design you want. If you are only going to work on your punches, then you can get a bag that only allows you to take punching strikes. Someone training Muay Thai, Karate or Taekwondo is going to need a bag that can take hard kicks.

One free standing bag that is popular is the B.O.B. (Body Opponent Bag) that is popular among Karate and Taekwondo students. B.O.B. heavy bags are designed with special material to simulate a real person when you strike the dummy. These bags allow you to adjust the dummies height between 60-78 inches and

Price

Free standing bags are not cheap. The price will range from $150-300 depending on the size and fill of the bag. While you may be tempted to go with the cheaper options, those options are usually designed for kids and are too small for adult use.

If you get an adult size free standing bag you can expect to be around $250-350 for the bag. Since these bags have a lot of parts and components, you aren’t going to find many cheap options that are viable.

What Are Your Training Goals?

Before I talk about specific recommendations for free standing bags, it is important to ask yourself why do you want they bag? Are you looking to improve your striking speed, power or stamina? As I mentioned earlier, most adults will hit with too much power for regular free standing bags.

I do not recommend free standing bags if you train Muay Thai because you will be knocking over the bags constantly with your strikes. These bags are used for more traditional martial arts.

If you train Muay Thai I recommend you buy a heavy bag stand or mount system for around $100 and then buy a regular heavy bag for under $200 that you fill yourself. This option comes out to around $300 (same price as free standing bag), but it will give you a much better training setup.

If you don’t hit with a lot of power, the free standing bag could be a good starter option for you. This is a beginner/novice training tool that is going to provide a little bit of resistance and help you work on your technique at home.

Best Free Standing Bags


Everlast Omniflex Free Standing Bag

everlast-omniflex-bagThe Everlast Omniflex bag is designed for martial artists who want to work on their punches and kicks. The bag is approximately 130 lbs when it is filled and it reaches upwards of 67 inches when at its highest point.

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The adjustable base of the bag allows you to raise and lower the bag to work on different areas. The bag itself is made from a high-grade shock foam material and it has a nevatear outer shell designed to resist tears and cuts.

The base of this free standing bag is filled with water or sand, and it doesn’t take up too much space. This is a great bag if you want something that is around $150 that is light and can be easily stored.

Final Word

Good for Beginners or Kids

If you are looking for a heavy bag to buy to help you sharpen up your boxing and kicking skills, this is a good option. This is better suited for traditional martial arts and not Muay Thai training.

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Century Versys Fight Simulator (Best Bag for MMA)

centurys-versus-fightIf you are looking for a free standing bag for your MMA training you should consider getting the Century Veersys Fight Simulator. The unique design of this bag allows you to knock the bag off the bottom stand and use it as a grappling dummy to strike.

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Once you are finished working on the ground with the heavy bag, you can put it back on the stand again. This bag is good for MMA strikers who want to also train with a grappling dummy to punch and kick on the ground.

The heavy bag itself weight approximately 100lbs and will allow you to throw light strikes when it stands up. If you hit too hard the bag will fall down and you can see it to finish off your ‘ground and pound’ game.

Final Word

Ideal for MMA

If you want a free standing bag that you can strike and also use as a grappling dummy you should consider this bag. This bag is ideal for beginners who don’t strike with much power.

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Century BOB XL with Base Unit

bob-heavy-bag-centuryIf you are going to get a free standing heavy bag I would train with a BOB. These bags give you a realistic target and can help you target specific areas of the heavy bag. This is great for learning how to target different areas on the heavy bag.

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The base of the bag can be filled with 270 lbs of water or sand so it won’t move around when you strike the bag. The base design of the bag allows you to turn it on its side and roll it around for easy transportation.

When you hit a BOB bag you will notice it gives much more resistance than to the regular free standing heavy bags. Traditional martial arts like Karate and Tawkwondo often train using BOBs. My dad used to have a BOB heavy bag when I was growing up as a kid. As you can imagine, I have a lot of fond memories of beating up on BOB growing up.

Final Word

Good for traditional martial arts

The B.O.B. heavy bags are very popular for people who train traditional martial arts. If you train Muay Thai I wouldn’t recommend it because it won’t take the impact of your body kicks well. The material used to make the BOB is also hard and gives better resistance to the normal free standing bags.

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Century Wavemaster XXL Training Bag

century-wavemaster-xxlThe Century Wavemaster training bag is a full sized heavy bag that offers you the ability to strike the entire range of the body. Other free standing bags require you to adjust the bag up and down. This bag stands 69 inches tall and does not need to be adjusted.

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It can give you the full range of motion to work on your head kicks and your low kicks. Like all the other free standing bags out there, you can’t hit the bag with a lot of power or it will get knocked over. There is not much resistance when you strike the bag, so it is ideal for kids or adults who don’t hit hard.

The bag itself is made from a durable vinyl cover and a high density foam fill that is designed to last. It comes in black, blue and red color options. The base of the bag will weigh roughly 270 lbs when you fill it with sand or water.

The round design of the base allows you to easily roll it around to get it into the correct place for your training.

Final Word

Good bag for beginners and kids

This is a good overall bag that is going to last you. As I mentioned before, this bag isn’t going to withstand hard strikes, so don’t buy this bag if you want to use it for your Muay Thai training.

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Final Thoughts

If you want to work on your striking at home a good heavy bag is essential for your training. A free standing bag is a great option for people who want an easy bag to setup, that can be rolled in and out of storage. These are the most portable bags you will find on the market and are easy to setup.

Free standing bags are ideal for kids and people who want to focus on light striking without too much power. If you want a heavy bag to improve your power, you may want to considered buying a regular heavy bag that hangs from the ceiling.

Novice martial artists may want to start off with a free standing heavy bag and then upgrade to a regular heavy bag once they start getting comfortable hitting the bag. A lot of Karate and Taekwondo fighters like training with B.O.B. free standing bags because they give you a human target to strike.

Whatever bag you choose, make sure you look up some of the reviews on the bag and see what people are saying. This will help you choose a bag that is suitable for your training needs. If it comes down to having a free standing heavy bag or having nothing at all, buy one. These bags have some drawback, but they can help you improve your technique and stamina if you use them right.

About Author

In 2011, Stephen decided to move to Thailand in search of 'real' Muay Thai. After training MMA for 5 years, he wanted to focus solely on his standup striking. After gaining a few years of experience in the ring, he decided to start Muay Thai Pros with his brother Ben, to share their experiences from the land of Muay Thai. You can follow Stephen on Instagram or read about his Muay Thai journey HERE.

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